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Telling a History 05 – Value of Our Hobby [Column_Tracksides]

abandoned-rail_06.jpg: spur abandoned in 1987. Yanahara, Okayama, Japan 1990

Here, I’m considering the characteristics of the history among our hobby.

Our history often describes demise of the object of our hobby, which is rare in standard histories. Repeatedly described demises reduce our mental load and lead us toward objectivity through symbolizing.

I think our model trains or layouts also work. Here is the reason why I think so. We can suppose that the relationship between passed train and survived hobbyist is duplicated as the relationship between hobbyist and model trains. Here, model trains are the symbols of passed trains. Thus, survived hobbyist would be symbolized through duplication of relationship. Accordingly, modeling or layout making has a value of giving the meanings to our existences/lives.

I wrote before that our childhoods are buried in the models. We have the desire to meet again with them but never fulfilled. Thus, we are forced to keep collecting or modeling. Now, I should add another motive to our modeling of giving the meanings to our lives.

It is often said that hobby is a healing. But we may recognize that our enthusiasm is not almighty: it may only heal the wounded mentality caused by the pass of trains. Other than that, this hobby’s function of giving the meanings to our lives may have much more value.

My column “Why we collect?”;

Japanese & Comments


Telling a History 04 – Objective Description [Column_Tracksides]

abandoned-rail_03.jpg: spur abandoned in 1986. Osaka To-ko, Osaka, Japan. 1986

Here, I’m considering the characteristics of the history among our hobby.

History teller subjectively selects the evidences. But the history he described should have objectivity. How the teller leads his subjective descriptions toward objectivity?

History teller unconsciously duplicates the demise repeatedly to reduce his mental load. Then, is there any advantage to us the readers besides fits-my-era judging?

Jacques Lacan answers to both questions. Lacan rebuilt Freud’s theory of repetition. Freud’s repetition meant the repetition of reproducing the wounds. But Lacan grasped it as a repetition of the relationship. From here, Lacan recognized the repetition as a process of becoming the other, a practice of investing things with symbolic meaning=languages. Both pronunciations and meanings of language is the other for us: we can’t create nor change. We have no choice but to accept it. Lacan represents this acceptance as becoming the other.

Lacan represents an example: relationship between frequently absent mother and a boy left behind is repeated as a boy throwing away the teddy bear with a shout. In our case, relationship between passed train and survived history teller, repeated as relationship between history teller and description of demise, may fit for the example.

Here, in Lacan’s example, boy’s position in “mother/boy” relationship is considered as transposed with shouted teddy bear in “boy/teddy bear” relationship. This transposition represents that the boy was shouted=given the meanings. In our case, teller’s position in “passed train/survived history teller” relationship is transposed with description in “teller/description of demise” relationship. That is, the survived teller is described=symbolized and given the meanings.

Attained meanings are the others for the teller. This means the teller attained an objective point of view within oneself. That is to say, the description of the teller heads toward objectivity.

Thus, repeatedly described retired dates lead both the history teller and us the readers toward objectivity. This maybe the answer for the two questions at the beginning of this column.

Japanese & Comments


DRGW Caboose #01504 [DRGW Photo Archive]


This D&RGW steel offset wide-vision cupola caboose is being displayed at the Ogden Union Station.

D&RGW #01504 was built in 1966 by International Car Co. It was originally painted gold and silver with single black stripe.

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2014.
revised, Oct. 16 2014

Here are some detail photos;

drgw01504_02.jpg: red (right) and clear (center) electric marker lights installed on eaves.

: bottom of extended cupola; no details, not even the cutwater.

: smoke stack, cupola and cupola handrail

: some under frame components

: ACI plate, Consolidated Stencils and Barber-Bettendorf truck.

: it seems this Aspen Gold paint is a product of Dupont.

: Consolidated Stencils

: the “ACTION road” logo

Japanese & Comments


DRGW Caboose #01457 [DRGW Photo Archive]


This D&RGW steel riveted end cupola caboose is being displayed in front of the Ogden Union Station.

D&RGW #01457 was built in 1947 at railroad’s Burnham Shops in Denver, CO. It was originally painted black with yellow pin stripes. It was repainted to this scheme in 1975. Windows were covered in 1985.

Early morning sunlight makes shadow of trees on her; visiting late in the morning would be better.

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2014.
revised, Oct. 16 2014


Here are some detail photos:

: conductor’s end of DRGW 01457

: stay of cupola sunshade is indeed delicate; same to Trainworx detail parts. Notice the cap at the end of ladder.
: inside the end platform. Pipes with various diameters are used to build safety equipments.

: outside the end platform

: frame, trucks and brake components

: ACI plate and Consolidated Stencils. Notice the D&RGW relief on the truck.

: the “ACTION road” logo

Japanese & Comments


DRGW SD40T-2 #5371 [DRGW Photo Archive]


The “Last of a Breed” is being displayed at Ogden Union Station since 2009.

D&RGW #5371 was built in 1975 with 3000hp prime mover. She made her last revenue run to East Carbon on Feb. 29, 2008. She was retired on Dec. 5, same year. You can see and read more about this particular locomotive in Mike Danneman’s book “Last of a Breed” .

She recently had lights re-installed on short hood, which were long gone and cover-plated. According to Facebook page, the Gyralight is a temporary until acquiring a MARS light to install. The difference is that while Gyralight makes a circular motion, MARS Light makes a figure-eight motion.

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2014.
revised, Oct. 16 2014


Here are some detail photos;

: mark of hard boots still remains at steps. Notice the two kinds of handrail stanchion.
: serial number 756046-16 can be read.

: Three MU hoses aren’t in same size nor evenly spaced.

: unpatched number, the prove of the “Last of a Breed”. Notice the mirror and wind deflector are installed asymmetrically.
: burnt hood is one of the characteristics of Rio Grande locomotives.

: number above the rear headlight, which my N scale IM model doesn’t have.

: of course, this creature is made from sheet of steel. Bending works are seen at steps and rear buffer beam.
: even the prototype seems have several kinds of Aspen Golds.

: traction motor hanging from truck frame, which is a striking feature but my N scale IM model doesn’t have.

Japanese & Comments


Telling a History 03 – Unconscious Description [Column_Tracksides]

abandoned-rail_04.jpg: spur abandoned in 1986. Osaka To-ko, Osaka, Japan. 1986

Here, I’m considering the characteristics of the history among our hobby.

If we can recognize the descriptions of retirements or abandonments as unconscious descriptions, we can recognize that a historian describes the retirements or abandonments to reduce his/her mental load. Let’s see whether these descriptions are consciously or unconsciously written, through an example I found.

British historian Hamilton Ellis represents the development of British passenger equipments as a 176 pages book “NINETEENTH CENTURY RAILWAY CARRIAGES” (Modern Transport Publishing Co., 1949). Here, he represents the development by describing the beginnings of new equipments in chronological order. Accordingly, dates appear in the book roughly grow every other page, alike standard histories.

line-graph.jpg: line graph showing the series of dates appear in Ellis’ book

Whereas, the series of dates in his book occasionally jumps up and down by the retired dates of equipments which he repeatedly inserts in his history. These descriptions of demise seem disturb the overall flow. That is, these descriptions are meaningless in explaining the development of equipments: they can be caught as senseless descriptions.

According to the dictionary of psychoanalysis, unconscious is a mental place of intellect made of senseless citation of letters. His descriptions of demise can be recognized as senseless citation of letters. Therefore, these descriptions can be caught as unconsciously reproduced wounds. Freud’s theory of repetition tells us that unconsciously reproduced wounds reduce the mental load. That is to say, Ellis unconsciously describes the demise repeatedly to heal his mind.

Japanese & Comments

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